Commercial Solar Hot Water
Federal, state and utility level incentives combine to make commercial or multifamily scale solar thermal the most attractive renewable technology. Payback periods of 5 to 7 years are common.
Solar thermal is a stable, mature, technology, with a life of system of 20 or 25 years. Since solar thermal collectors are 4 to 7 times more efficient than photovoltaics (PV), far less roof area is needed to create an equivalent energy savings. And solar thermal collectors are so efficient, they will not be obsolete in a few years as the technology progresses- not so with PV which has efficiencies in the low teens and there is plenty of room for generational improvements in the technology.
Just as with residential scale solar thermal, the most efficient application is pre heating domestic hot water. This application is a year round load, so the investment is producing income in all seasons. Commercial properties with high hot water loads are the best candidates; hotels, health clubs, restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes and any multifamily building are all excellent candidates.